Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Michael A. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and José A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announced that William Joseph, 33, of Miami, was sentenced today to two years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for his participation in an identity theft tax refund fraud scheme. Joseph pled guilty on August 31, 2012, to one count of theft of government money and one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to court documents, the defendant and seven others were charged in an FBI sting operation. From February 2012 to April 2012, the FBI operated a financial services store (the store) in North Miami that accepted fraudulently obtained tax refund checks from individuals looking to cash those checks.
According to court documents, in March and April 2012, the defendant cashed or assisted in the cashing of 13 fraudulently obtained income tax refund checks (totaling approximately $70,000) at the store for around 60 percent of face value. The defendant provided fake identification documents to the undercover agent at the store matching the names of the victims on the checks. The defendant also forged the signatures of the victims on the back of some of the checks.